The pain cuts through my heart like a knife. I was married in 1987, and very soon afterward found myself pregnant and made the horrible decision to abort. I grew up in a violent family in which my parents had fights and hit each other all the time. My mother would always tell me that, from the time that I was born, her relationship with my father went sour, and that children ruin a marriage…. Before I even left the abortion clinic I felt dirty, like trash; I was never the same again…. I am constantly reminded of what I did, and I am filled with sadness.
Although your mother is not responsible for your actions, her words were extremely destructive to your childhood and your adult life. She made you feel guilty for her own marriage problems, and she implied that she would have been better off if you had not been born. This kind of message has the power to inflict serious emotional harm on a child that lasts for many years or even a lifetime.
Parents who blame their children for their own problems are shortsighted, immature, selfish, and cruel. Unfortunately it is all too common today to hear a mother cursing her children or calling them names. Fathers, likewise, can be heard making fun of their sons or making negative predictions for their daughters’ future lives. These adults seem to have no idea that they are emotionally abusing their offspring. Parents like this are so centered on their own selfish needs and desires that their children become innocent victims who suffer the emotional consequences and end up with a skewed sense of identity and reality. This seriously affects the child’s ability to make good decisions. Consequently, the son often hears the condemning father in his head for the rest of his life. And the daughter hears the blaming words of her mother, as you do.
You made the horrible decision to abort your child. However, you are taking responsibility for your action, though you imply that you were probably influenced by the negative messages you heard from your mother. The guilt you feel is heightened by the grief of losing a child, of whom you don’t have pictures or memories to comfort you. You can’t even talk about your loss with others, because they don’t know your secret. Instead, you mourn silently and constantly ask yourself what the child would have been like if he or she had been given the opportunity to live.
Expect to always feel a loss for the child that was never born. Expect to be reminded every time you see a baby or a child of the age that yours would have been. And don’t be surprised when you are overcome with grief. You will never get over this loss, but forgiveness and time will dull the ache.
Forgiveness is a gift from God, but you must accept it. Jesus Christ died to pay for what you did. He took the penalty for your sin in order that you could be forgiven.1 So ask God for His forgiveness, accept it, and then forgive yourself.
We wish you well,
Linda and Charles
1 Ro 5:8